After landing at Santiago airport and clearing customs, you will be met by your local representative and driven to your hotel for a private transfer. You will have time to relax after checking into your cozy hotel before being picked up for a City Walking Tour.
The tour begins with driving downtown to famous landmarks including the central fish market and ‘Plaza de Armas’, Santiago’s main square and kilometer zero (the point from which all distances in the country are measured). You visit the ‘Alameda’, the main street of the city centre, via busy pedestrian walkway ‘Paseo Ahumada’, famous for its crowds, shops, and diversity of people. After visiting Chile's presidential palace ‘La Moneda’, a symbol of Chile’s political past and its famously turbulent history, climb Cerro Santa Lucía, where Santiago was founded in 1541 by Pedro Valdivia. The tour finishes by visiting the bohemian Lastarria neighborhood, lined with cafés, restaurants, small theaters, bookstores and boutique shops.
In the morning you will be picked up from the hotel and driven south to wine country. Once you arrive in the famous Maipo valley, start riding past vineyards and small villages. Stop to visit three vineyards, all varying in history and in the wine they produce.
The first vineyard is a rustic, family-owned estate producing a wide variety of wine including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere (thought to be extinct until its rediscovery in Chile in 1994). The second is a contemporary vineyard started by a wealthy Santiago family to produce high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Syrah and Cot (Chile’s version of the famous Argentine Malbec). The third is a 100% organic vineyard where you have the opportunity to taste wine directly from the tanks. After the final vineyard, drive to a countryside restaurant for lunch. Satisfied after great food, wine and the scenic bike ride, we return to our hotel in Santiago.
*Please note: The bike & wine tour only operates Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
This morning check out of the hotel for a private transfer to the airport. After a short scenic flight, arrive in Calama and be driven to San Pedro de Atacama, in the middle of the desert.
In the afternoon, spend time acclimatizing before being whisked off on a bike tour to Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), located 13km/8 miles west of San Pedro in the Salt Mountain Range. The valley has beautifully strange lunar landscapes and is considered one of the driest places on the planet. Cycling towards Valle de la Luna in time to witness a spectacular sunset, you'll feel the immensity of the desert stretching out all around you. Light refreshments and a specialist guide will be provided.
Today you will drive to the great Salar de Atacama, a white endless salt flat with flamingos nesting in the lagoons. Geological research studies suggest this great salt flat is the most important lithium reserve in the world.
Visit a nearby village with ancient architecture and inviting locals who produce fine wool knit products and in the afternoon we visit the Altiplano lagoons: Miscanit and Meñique, located at 4,500m above sea level. Unique flora and fauna can be seen and the area is also home to many legends about the Atacama Desert. We end by visiting the town of Socaire, where old Andean traditions still exist today.
The very early wake-up call from the hotel will be well worth it when you arrive at the amazing Tatio Geysers and see them in action. From almost 900 meters below the earth, boiling steam bursts up to 40 meters over the surface of these spectacular geysers. A scrumptious breakfast will be served upon arrival before we walk through the geothermal fields with the geysers erupting nearby. As you drive back, there is a magnificent view of the Tocopurri and Sairecabur volcanoes. Arrive back in town in time to have lunch and the afternoon will be free to rest after the early start, high altitude and low temperature we faced in the morning.
Today travel from one extreme to another as you head from the dusty Atacama desert to Chile's luscious Lake District, lined with vast lakes and active volcanoes. After checking out from the hotel head to the Calama airport and board a flight to Puerto Montt, connecting in Santiago. Upon arrival in Puerto Montt, continue on to nearby Puerto Varas, a beautiful town with a marked German architectural style located on the shore of Lake Llanquihue, where you will overnight.
This morning head out for white water rafting! Drive to the Petrohue sector, in Perez Rosales National Park, located at the foot of Osorno Volcano next to the flowing turquoise waters of the Petrohue river. Upon arrival, meet skilled guides who will equip you with all the rafting gear needed (wetsuit, helmet, paddle jacket and life jacket) and then talk you through safety instructions. Board the rafts and start paddling down this beautiful class III river, enjoying the rapids and the views. After completing the designated river section, have a snack on the river banks and then return to Puerto Varas to spend the afternoon.
Today visit a national park named after the millenary Alerce tree, native to the region, undoubtedly one of the most interesting species of tree in Chile. In this Park some of the alerce trees are more than 3,000 years old! We drive down “Los Colonos” route heading to the city of Puerto Montt, passing by the small town of “Alerce” and then we meet the Carretera Austral (Southern Highway). This famous road, cutting through Northern Patagonia, is lined with abundant fauna, flora, and the beautiful lowlands of the Andean Cordillera. Along the road there are also typical small farming villages with a marked European look.
Arrive at the 39,255 hectare park, located on the shores of Reloncavi, and start a beautiful hike on the different trails going through the Park. If lucky you will see some of the interesting animals that live in the park, like the Chilean deer, pumas, pudús (the smallest deer in the world), condors, black carpenter birds, and much more. Stop for lunch in one of the picnic facilities and re-energize. Then continue hiking among the ancient trees, looking out over the lake. Return to Puerto Varas and in time for dinner!
Today board a flight to Punta Arenas. Next head to EcoCamp Patagonia, located in the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park, where you will spend the next three nights in a standard dome.
En route make a couple of stops - First in Puerto Natales, a small, lively town on the shores of Seno de Ultima Esperanza, where you will enjoy a hearty local lunch, and second at Cueva de Milodon, a massive prehistoric cave where the remains of a giant ground sloth were discovered in the 1890’s. The whole journey is very scenic, with plenty of wild birds and wonderful landscapes to be seen. The day ends with our arrival and overnight stay at EcoCamp Patagonia, nestled in the heart of the park with a view of the Torres. During summer the sun sets around 11pm, so upon arrival there's plenty of light to admire the Patagonian steppe with its guanacos and snow-peaked mountain horizon.
For the next two days you will have the choice between active or easy excursions. EcoCamp Patagonia provides you with a chart of excursions provided each day of the week. The excursions vary depending on weather and the season.
(For a detailed description of all excursions please click here.)
Your time at the EcoCamp is flexible and includes a menu of guided excursions. Based on your interests and energy levels, choose the activities which will outline your days. Excursions range from a more relaxed pace to a strenuous hike. Set off with your guide to travel across the park to Grey Glacier. Along the way, stop to visit the Salto Grande waterfall and take a quick hike (one hour roundtrip) to the Mirador Nordenskjold for stunning views of Los Cuernos and the French Valley. In the afternoon, board the ferry and set off across the Lago Grey.
Hikers can also venture to the foot of the gigantic spires of El Paine (8 hours roundtrip). Weather permitting, witness the most famous sight of the Torres del Paine - the three granite monoliths which reach 9,400 feet - a testament to the massive glacial forces which carved them out of the earth.
Some travelers prefer to relax and stay at the EcoCamp to enjoy the vistas and tranquility, or take a walk apart from the guided group. Horseback riding and spa services can be arranged at the nearby Hosteria Las Torres during any free time or as an optional activity.
After breakfast check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport by private transfer, where you board your flight home...Hasta la proxima Chile!
$1605 single supplement
We recommend starting on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday in order to do the bike & wine tour on day 2. Alternative options available.